Painstaking

People often remark on the level detail in my artwork, and say I must have lots of patience. It’s no secret I have a love of tiny details, also mammoth projects that take years, preferably both at once (see Lighter Than My Shadow). But the truth is this kind of work isn’t a test of patience for me. This is what I love. new house progress Having recently completed this Alasdair Roberts poster using scratch board, perhaps the epitome of a painstaking medium, I’m finding myself drawn back to using it again. It’s the same thing, I think, that means I enjoy knitting so much – another activity that brings remarks on how much patience I have. But it only has to do with patience if you focus on the end result. Yes it might take me a year to knit a sweater, or five years to draw a whole book. But when I finished drawing the book that took me five years, it was like the bottom fell out of my world. I have felt lost, listless and it’s taken me two years to recover any sense of what to do when I get up in the morning. Two years to realise that the finished product was not the important thing at all. I’m not saying I don’t want to knit sweaters or make books: that’s what I want to to all day every day! It’s just that I’m realising I’m not in this for the finishing. In the end, any books or sweaters are kind of incidental. What matters more is the act of making. I’m wary of this starting to sound a little wacky so I’ll tread carefully. I love creating the most when I’m utterly engaged in the process. Time drifts and my purpose becomes irrelevant: I am absorbed in each tiny mark or stitch. I’ve found that generally the more longwinded and painstaking a process is, the more effective it is at inducing this kind of meditative state where I am at my happiest. Finding this sweet spot amid deadlines, the (real or perceived) pressure to finish something new and the very real need to sell things, well that’s a different kind of challenge…but lately I’m enjoying meticulous processes that remind me they are the best bit. New House The above is my charming new house! I’ve spent the last couple of weeks packing, shifting and unpacking boxes. I’m still living with a significant degree of chaos but hope to show you around my new studio soon.

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